North Carolina

Blog: UNC upsets No. 11 Kentucky, 82-77

Posted December 14, 2013

FINAL: UNC 82, Kentucky 77: Led by 23 points from Marcus Paige, the UNC Tar Heels upset the No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats Saturday, 82-77, at the Dean Smith Center.

3:00 2nd: UNC 66, Kentucky 63: At the final media timeout, Kentucky has battled back and trail the Tar Heels by just three points.

Foul trouble is becoming an issue as Poythress has already fouled out for Kentucky and UNC has three players with four fouls.

7:34 2nd: UNC 60, Kentucky 54: With the help of some stand-out defense and 16 points from James Michael McAdoo, the Tar Heels have a 6-point lead on Kentucky with under 8 to play at the Dean Dome.

15:21 2nd: UNC 41, Kentucky 40: Despite falling behind early in the second half, Marcus Paige turned a turnover into a deuce and the Tar Heels lead Kentucky by a point at the first media break of the second half.

HALF: UNC 33, Kentucky 30: At the break, JP Tokoto and James Michael McAdoo lead all scorers with 11 points apiece and the Tar Heels are staked to a slim 33-30 lead on ranked Kentucky.

Kentucky coach John Calipari drew a technical foul at the end of the half, helping the Tar Heels gain the edge from the free throw line. UNC has made 12 from the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes.

Kentucky is shooting 40 percent from the floor while UNC is shooting just 38 percent.

9:30 1st: Kentucky 19, UNC 14: Led by 7 points from James Young, Kentucky has built a 5-point lead on UNC midway through the first half.

McAdoo and Tokoto lead the way for UNC with 4 apiece.


PREGAME

Two of the most storied programs in college basketball will collide on Saturday evening as the 11th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats come calling on the 18th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels at the Smith Center.

Kentucky has the most wins in NCAA history (2,119), while North Carolina ranks third all-time (2,096). These teams also represent the top two programs in terms of NCAA Tournament appearances, games played and victories. North Carolina holds a 22-13 edge in the all-time series with Kentucky, but the Wildcats have won three of the last four meetings, including a thrilling 73-72 decision at Rupp Arena in 2011.

Roy Williams' Tar Heels have been tough to figure out this season. The team has been at less than full strength with projected starters P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald still unable to suit up.

UNC has dropped games to Belmont and UAB this season, but has a pair of stellar victories over defending champion Louisville (93-84) and then top-ranked Michigan State (79-65). The team followed the big road win at Michigan State with last weekend's rout of UNC Greensboro (81-50) to arrive at 6-2 on the season.

It was a balanced effort in North Carolina's romp over UNCG last weekend, as the Tar Heels had five players post double figures in the scoring column, dominated the Spartans on the boards (46-28 rebounding edge) and forced the visitors into 21 costly turnovers that resulted in 30 points for UNC. Brice Johnson led the way off the bench with 14 points.

James Michael McAdoo was right behind with 13 points, followed by Marcus Paige (12 pts), Kennedy Meeks (12 pts) and Nate Britt (11 pts).

Despite being a couple of star players short, North Carolina remains a tough team, especially at the offensive end of the court, where it is averaging 77.5 ppg on .478 shooting.

The team also enjoys a +7.4 rebounding edge and is forcing 15.5 turnovers per game. Paige has really taken over as a team leader at the point and paces the squad in both scoring (18.8 ppg) and assists (4.5 apg). Johnson (13.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg) has been a picture of consistency coming off the bench.

McAdoo (13.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg) may be the most talented player on the floor most nights, but his sub par shooting thus far (.404) has helped squelch his explosiveness.

John Calipari has another extremely young squad on his hands in Lexington. That hasn't stopped the Wildcats from posting wins in eight of their first 10 games.

The two losses have come to powerhouses Michigan State (78-74) in mid- November and Baylor (67-62) on Dec. 6. The Wildcats were able to get some distance from the loss to the Bears with Tuesday's 70-55 win over Boise State.

Duke's Jabari Parker and Kansas' Andrew Wiggins have received the lion's share of the press as heralded freshmen phenoms, but Kentucky's Julius Randle has certainly thrust his name into the conversation of best newcomer this season.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound youngster has dominated play down low, recording eight double-doubles in 10 games and currently leads the Wildcats in both scoring (17.8 ppg) and rebounding (12.0 rpg). Fellow freshmen James Young (13.9 ppg), Aaron Harrison (13.8 ppg) and Andrew Harrison (10.3 ppg) provide plenty of support, as does sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein (9.1 ppg), who serves as the team's top distributor (3.5 apg).

Despite the team's extreme youth, Kentucky is averaging a strong 80.8 ppg this year, while owning a huge +12.4 rebounding advantage.

Kentucky shot an impressive 52.9 percent from the floor against Boise State, owned the glass with a 43-27 edge in rebounding and held the Broncos to a mere 31.9-percent shooting effort in this week's 15-point victory at Rupp Arena. Young led the way with 21 points. Randle finished with a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double, while the Harrison twins posted 13 points apiece.

108 Comments

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  • Gunnstigator Dec 15, 2:08 p.m.

    Nice win! I don't how these guys can devote so much of their time to basketball and still can't... View More

    — Posted by mac240

    I think it's mental. Roy said they shoot 200 in practice and make most of them, but come game times, it's clink, clank, clunk. VERY frustrating, and will cost games unless it's corrected. VERY happy with their play today, especially seeing contributions from others in the first half when Paige struggled.

  • 4tarheels Dec 14, 9:32 p.m.

    UNC has been giant killers so far...PJ who?

  • bobbobson23 Dec 14, 9:31 p.m.

    Don't expect to catch the cats flat-footed. unc has no one to stop Randle so we'll see a lot of... View More

    — Posted by seedofdoubt

    Quit your day job and your life.

  • bubbadoright Dec 14, 9:26 p.m.

    PJ "Not" Be Back for Kentucky...No problem...Next.

  • hisbiueheaven Dec 14, 9:21 p.m.

    im so proud of my team for comming out competing, ive seen a major change sense the belmont and uab game and lets forget about those games this team is playing well but the only achellies hill is our free throw shooting needs to get better, but much to the love of tar heel nation and myself go heels i love you guys and all our fans as well!

  • ACC22 Dec 14, 9:14 p.m.

    Cal looks like uncle Wes forgot to pay the refs

  • 4tarheels Dec 14, 9:10 p.m.

    Good win for the Tar Heels!!! Several of the guys are playing well, and well as a team. Hard... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    He will play this year, it`s a matter of time. and when he does, he`ll be the best player we can... View More

    — Posted by Ram Tuuf

    From everything I see, read, hear - or not - from UNC and Roy - it is a foregone conclusion that... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    Great game for the Heels, the journey to the tourney is looking good.

    Your concern over chemistry cannot be avoided if PJ is allowed to play by the NCAA. There will always be elements to wring your hands over, however, you cannot NOT play your best player if he becomes available.

  • ABCers Partying Dec 14, 9:09 p.m.

    I believe Louisville, MSU, and Kentucky were all in the pre season top 5.

  • Objective Scientist Dec 14, 9:05 p.m.

    Good win for the Tar Heels!!! Several of the guys are playing well, and well as a team. Hard... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    He will play this year, it`s a matter of time. and when he does, he`ll be the best player we can... View More

    — Posted by Ram Tuuf

    From everything I see, read, hear - or not - from UNC and Roy - it is a foregone conclusion that Hairston will play the minute the NCAA says he can. That does not appear to be in question. However... when and what will the NCAA rule? Do you have a reliable, dependable "source" that enables you to say that Hairston '...will play this year"? Or are you simply stating your "gut feeling" or "opinion"?

    With regard to Hairston "...being the best player we can put on the court". Perhaps you are right, although I'm not as certain about that as you seem to be. My concern is not so much with Hairston's skills or his performance as I am with what his insertion into the lineup may do to team chemistry. If "team chemistry" suffers... what good is it to have the "best player we can put on the court" on the court?

  • dukiedon45 Dec 14, 9:01 p.m.

    This is the only time of the year that I can say this----GO HEELS!!!!

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